By Lizbeth Bautista
One in four college students suffer from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. With such a large number, Denison’s chapter Active Minds, an international organization with about 400 chapters, decided to host Mental Health Awareness week, which took place from Oct. 5-9.
The week was the result of a grant that Active Minds received, and they wanted to bring something new to campus that would bring awareness to their club. Mental Health Awareness Week is national, so these kinds of events happen on multiple campuses around the country.
The main purpose of this event is to erase the negative perceptions that people have about depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
“Throughout the week, Active Minds has hosted multiple events to raise awareness about mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. More specifically, Active Minds has been focusing on suicide prevention in light of recent events that have hit home for the entirety of Denison’s campus,” said Angela Gloninger ‘18, the Denison chapter’s program coordinator, from Pittsburgh.
The events varied throughout the week and included making name tags with positive quips such as “I am NOT my anxiety” to reduce stigma, making self-care packages, participation in a heartfelt panel discussion with students and faculty to raise awareness directly within the community and a lighter karaoke night to let off steam. The week ended with a visit from Mike’s Late Night Slice on North Quad. The food truck gave 15 percent of its proceeds that night to Active Minds Nationals.
Brooke Hubbard ’18, secretary of Active Minds, from Boulder, Col. said that Mental Health Awareness week, “gave [Active Minds] the opportunity to reduce stigma on mental health issues on campus so that we can start to erase the negative perceptions that people have about depression and anxiety.”
Active Minds also wanted to educate students about the resources on campus that are available for those who may be struggling. They work very closely with Whisler Health Services to provide counseling services free of charge to students. Whisler currently has four counselors available to students and offers walk-in hours as well.
Although Mental Health Awareness week only lasted five days, the mental health problems that students may be dealing with last much longer than that.
The importance of being aware of mental health stigma and the well-being of Denison students is what this event was trying to make resonate with the community. It may be a touchy subject to speak about with family and friends but it can be better to seek help and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Active Minds is a nationwide non profit organization committed to reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health on college campuses.
Whisler Health Center at Denison provides a wide range of services for student wellness. To contact Whisler’s counseling center, please call 740-587-6200.
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